Why Muslim Demands for Headscarves Are Exaggerated
Islamic attire for women—the burqa and hijab—are back in the news, though with a twist, as they cause problems and lawsuits in America, where they are legal. In France, however, they have been banned, and Muslim women are happily complying.
There is an instructive reason for this, but first, the stories from this week.
A Muslim-American woman, Kulsoom Abdullah, is trying to change the rules of competitive weightlifting to accommodate her. The rules require arms and legs to be bare so judges can see when elbows and knees are "locked," therefore being able to determine if a lift is successful. Most competitors wear a form-fitting body suit with short sleeves and short pants. Abdullah, however, says that "such exposure would violate her deeply held religious beliefs. But rather than giving up on her dreams of competitive weightlifting, she is pressing for a change in the sport's international rules," including "with the help of a lawyer, Muslim activists and the U.S. Olympic Committee."
And she won. The rules have been changed, in the words of the International Weightlifting Federation, to "promote and enable a more inclusive sport environment and break down barriers to participation."
It was also reported this week that Muslim-American Hani Khan is suing Abercrombie & Fitch, claiming the clothing retailer fired her for refusing to shed the hijab, an experience which in Khan's words "shook my confidence." She would be the third Muslim woman to sue Abercrombie for hijab reasons. But Khan is not trying to get her job back; rather, "her suit seeks to force Abercrombie to change its dress code to loosen restrictions on religious clothing… and is seeking back wages and unspecified damages."
In a statement, Abercrombie said, "We are committed to providing equal employment opportunities to all individuals regardless of religion, race or ethnicity. ... We comply with the law regarding reasonable religious accommodation."
Oddly, Khan's lawyer asserted that "Abercrombie prides itself on requiring what it calls 'a natural, classic American style.' But there is nothing American about discriminating against someone because of their religion." Apparently, work dress codes are now tantamount to "discriminating against someone because of their religion."
Meanwhile, in France, where Islamic dress is altogether banned, a new report suggests that Muslim women are happily complying—indeed, more Muslim women are traveling to France than before the ban:
Wealthy Gulf tourists are expected to continue to flock to France this summer in spite of a law that prohibits Muslim women from wearing the burqa, travel agencies said. Travel industry experts had initially feared a decline in Arab tourists after the April ban on full veils but now report no decline in peak-season bookings to France. Hotels.com, the parent company of the online travel website expedia.com, has seen a 219 percent increase in the number of searches for France from its Arabic Middle East site from April 1 to date. Searches for Belgium, which in 2010 passed a bill banning any clothing that would obscure the identity of the wearer, have increased 300 percent the website said.
Lest you think these Gulf women are any less pious than their American counterparts, there is a simple reason for why they are complying:
Islam's doctrine of taysir allows for hiyla, or the relaxation of Islamic law whenever Muslims find it inconvenient to uphold aspects of Sharia law, like when they are under infidel/Western authority. In fact, some of Islam's top leaders, Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, for example, are great advocates of taysir, "especially for those Muslim minorities living in Europe and America."
Taysir is like a broader concept of taqiyya, which permits Muslims to lie when circumstances call for it, while taysir only permits Muslims to drop aspects of Sharia law when circumstances call for it.
But there is another distinction. The Gulf women traveling to France are tourists who are not nearly as acquainted with the West as their American counterparts. They naturally assume the West is like the Islamic world—actually tenacious about its customs and laws, hardly to be pushed around by minority groups. (This is precisely why Muslims in the West shamelessly push for the Ground Zero mosque -- Muslims in the Middle East can't believe it and think it's a Zionist conspiracy.)
Muslims living in the West, on the other hand, know how easily the West can be pushed into submission, so why settle for the Muslim option of taysir when they can score a victory for Islam—and make some money while at it?
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by Burak Bekdil
In Turkey however, the protests were not peaceful. They included smashing a sculpture than was neither Jewish nor Israeli.
It was the usual "We-Muslims-can-kill each other-but-Jews-cannot" hysteria.
If Turkish crowds were protesting against Israel in a political dispute, why Koranic slogans? Why were they protesting in Arabic rather than their native language? Do Turks chant German slogans to protest nuclear energy?
by Burak Bekdil
So in the EU-candidate Turkey, a pianist should be punished for his re-tweets, but a pop-singer should be congratulated for her first-class racist hate-speech. This is contagious.
No reporter present at Mr. Ihsanoglu's campaign launch speech thought about asking him if his commitment to the "Palestinian cause" included any affirmation of the Hamas Charter, in particular a section that says, "…The stones and trees will say, 'O Muslims, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.'"
Turkey is also the country where a few years earlier, a group of school teachers (yes, school teachers!) gathered in a demonstration to commemorate Hitler.
by Debalina Ghoshal
Despite Chapter VII of the UN Charter and UNSC Resolutions, it seems that North Korea will continue developing its missiles -- and eventually weaponize them with nuclear warheads.
"North Korea's ballistic and nuclear threat is very much a near-term threat. ... Steady progression in their program is not harmless." — Victor Cha, Centre for Strategic and International Studies.
On March 26, 2014, North Korea reportedly test-fired medium-range ballistic Rodong missiles -- capable of reaching Japan and U.S. military bases in the Asia-Pacific region.
Since February, South Korean officials claim that North Korea has confirmed at least 90 test-firings, among which ten were ballistic missiles.
by Khaled Abu Toameh
It is important to note that these cease-fire demands are not part of Hamas's or Islamic Jihad's overall strategy, namely to have Israel wiped off the face of the earth.
Many foreign journalists who came to cover the war in the Gaza trip were under the false impression that it was all about improving living conditions for the Palestinians by opening border crossings and building an airport and seaport. These journalists really believed that once the demands of Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad are accepted, this would pave the way for peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
To understand the true intention of Hamas and its allies, it is sufficient to follow the statements made by their leaders after the cease-fire announcement this week. To his credit, Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas's leader, has never concealed Hamas's desire to destroy Israel.
Hamas and its allies see the war in the Gaza Strip as part of there strategy to destroy Israel. What Hamas and its allies are actually saying is, "Give us open borders and an airport and seaport so we can use them to prepare for the next war against Israel."
by Burak Bekdil
A front-page headline was particularly revealing: They (Israel) bombed a mosque in Gaza! Including the exclamation mark!
A quick internet search, if you typed "mosque bombing Shiite-Sunni," would give you 782,000 results on July 16.
Why did we not hear one single Turkish voice protest the death of 300,000 Muslims in Darfur?
Hamas's Charter is must-read fun.